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Oil on troubled waters in Europe

Demand has perked up. But politics will weigh on consumers in 2017

Europe has been a global oil consumer laggard since the financial crisis. But, having established a low base, consumption posted solid gains in 2016, rising by around 2.4%. Lower prices helped, but the other reason was the strengthening economy. The outlook for 2017, though, is less positive. "I see oil demand in Europe as stable rather than declining or growing," says Chris Weafer, head of Moscow-based consultancy Macro Advisory. He predicts an average oil price of $55 a barrel Brent for 2017, up from $45/b in 2016. "There is a small decline starting in Germany as more renewables enter the mix, but this is offset with demand growth in eastern Europe." Olivia Schorah, an analyst at consulta

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